ICAM Major

Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts Computer Music and Music Technology


The ICAM Program in the Music and Visual Arts departments draws upon, and aims to bring together, ideas and paradigms from computer science, art and cultural theory. The departments take for granted that the computer has become a meta-medium and that artists and musicians working with computers are expected to combine different media forms in their works. This makes the program unique among other existing computer art or design programs.

The program also recognizes that creating sophisticated artistic works with computers requires a new model of the creative process, one that combines traditional artistic procedures with the experimental research characteristic of the sciences.

The goals of the program are:

  • to prepare the next generation of artists who will be functioning in a computer-mediated culture
  • to give students necessary technical, theoretical and historical backgrounds so they can contribute to the development of new aesthetics for computer media
  • to prepare students to mediate between the worlds of computer science and technology, the arts, and the culture at large by being equally proficient with computing and cultural concepts
  • to give students sufficient understanding of the trajectories of development in computing so they can anticipate and work with the emerging trends, rather than being locked into particular software currently available on the market

Majors entering as freshmen   ^

All courses taken to satisfy major requirements, regardless of the department,  must be taken for a letter grade, and only grades of C- or better will be accepted in the major.


Link to Visual Arts webpage for ICAM and Vis Arts Course Descriptions & Annual Schedule:   ^

Course Descriptions

Typical Annual Schedule

Link to Computer Science and Engineering webpage for CSE Course Descriptions & Annual Schedule: 

Course Descriptions

Typical Annual Schedule

Link to Mathematics webpage for Math Course Descriptions & Annual Schedule (select Course Descriptions or Planned Course Offerings):

Course Descriptions

Typical Annual Schedule

Recommendations for Transfer Students   ^

Transfer students should attempt to complete the following lower-division equivalent courses before transferring to UC San Diego: CSE 11 (or CSE 8A-B), MATH 20A-B (or Math 10A-B-C or Math 15A/CSE 20), MUS 4 and any other lower division courses for the major available at community college. Refer to http://www.assist.org.  ASSIST is an online student-transfer information system that shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's public colleges and universities and provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about student transfer in California."

Students should also be able to find courses equivalent to MUS 1A, 6, and 14 at some colleges. While some of these may be listed on ASSIST, transfer students should be prepared to provide course descriptions, syllabi, and/or other materials that may be required to determine the content of the courses taken at other institutions.

Transfers entering with 36 or more quarter units by their third quarter of study at UC San Diego should complete their remaining lower-division courses for the major by the end of the third quarter.

Transfer students majoring in Music ICAM may or may not graduate in two years depending on the courses taken prior to UC San Diego.



Faculty   ^


Amy Alexander, M.F.A., Associate Professor, Visual Arts


Sheldon Brown, M.F.A., Professor, Visual Arts


Shlomo Dubnov, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Music


Tom Erbe, B.S., Studio Director, Music


Louis Hock, M.F.A., Professor, Visual Arts


Lev Manovich, Ph.D., Professor, Visual Arts


Peter Otto, M.F.A., Music Technology Director, Music


Miller Puckette, Ph.D., Professor, Music


Tamara Smyth, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Music


Brett Stalbaum, M.F.A., Lecturer, Visual Arts



Natacha Diels, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Music                                                 ndiels@ucsd.edu